It’s a free tank that’s been offered, so why not? Right?
Members of staff were chuckling at the meeting where it was first discussed.
Then Coun. Jim Ivey said something that brought the conversation back down to reality.
“It’s functional purpose is a weapon of war,” Ivey said. “I ask if the symbolism of something like that is something we want to have?”
Quietness fell over the council chambers and images of Tiananmen Square came to mind.
What seemed like a goofy possibility a few moments ago became solidified as a highly problematic image.
A tool of deadly, precise violence, could become a permanent fixture of a quaint little town in the Annapolis Valley.
The barrel of the gun would be pointing towards something, the town itself.
It was suggested that this tank, a decommissioned Leopard battle tank, designed and manufactured in Germany, would recognize the military history of Windsor.
Certainly, this town has had its fair share of bloodshed.
Fort Edward, the blockhouse that looks over the town, already stands as a reminder of the cruelty of the British Empire, which committed genocide against the Mi’kmaq and expelled the Acadians from this region.
It’s also the site where the Jewish Legion gathered and trained before heading overseas during the First World War, and a memorial is already being planned to recognize that history.
But what does a tank have to do with Windsor’s military history in particular? Especially one that was built in Germany and later sold to the Canadian Armed Forces?
Sure, there may be members of the armed forces, who served in armoured divisions, that live here or were from here.
As far as we can tell, there was no armoured division based in this town, nor were tanks ever manufactured in Windsor. We’re still waiting on verification from the Canadian Armed Forces historians, but we’d be surprised if they came back with anything on this.
Given that, the idea of displaying a tank as a vague and obscure reference to the military in general just doesn’t make sense and doesn’t honour those who actually fought and died for their country.
But, even if there was a connection to an armoured division in Windsor, would a tank really be an appropriate symbol of this? Rather than a statue or plaque that remembers the people who were in said battalion?
We’re supposed to celebrate the people who have sacrificed their lives in the name of service, not the tools they use.
It belongs in a museum, not as memorial.